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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Agents of Artifice - Chapter 31

Tezzeret, Nicol Bolas, and Liliana Vess. Quite a few people complicating our hero's life, but first there's one more immediate problem. The prison and the poison.

Agents of Artifice - Chapter 31

Liliana has returned... but only after a few days since her last visit. That wasn't the plan. They were to wait until both Tezzeret and Baltrice are off-world. (More on this later.) Why would she do this? Not to betray him, but because the two planeswalkers are holed up doing extra hours in Tezzeret's workshop. His device is near completion, so there's no choice but to execute the plan now.

It's a good thing Liliana's prepared. Inside Jace's trusty cloak, she has a few items bundled up which include: two infinite spheres and a strange contraption made with various pipes, and what is essentially a crowbar. And there's no need to worry about the guards, they've not only just been dealt with, they've been zombified.

(The spheres are the instantaneous planeswalking devices that Tezzeret was working on after this encounter with Nicol Bolas. It was the reason he was able to chase after Jace and capture him in the first place.)

Without touching the bars (as the manaless cell would immediately leave the zombies plain dead, rather than undead), it takes some effort, but the zombie strength of four zombies eventually pry them open wide enough for Jace to fit through, with minimal noise, all the while Jace and Liliana hope that there isn't an additional magical alarm attached to the cell.

But escape isn't that easy. There's the poison to deal with. Liliana asks Jace if he's sure he wants to go through with it. We already established there really isn't much time, so she goes ahead with the summoning. She doesn't summon vampires very often because they can be hard to control, but it's what's needed, and so she does. Jace gets in line with the opening, lays on the ground, and sticks his arm beyond the bars. The vampire feeds.

...Moments later, dragged outside the cell...

Jace does the whole "I see a bright light" deal while Liliana's voice calls him back to his body. He should be dead, but the contraption is some kind of healing device and/or storage for healing mana. Jace is pale and practically immobile, and he concentrates on recalling the feel of Emmara's spells. He had the slightest bit at enhancing her spell while he was under her roof, and now his life depending on his repeating the process for a much longer period so he could regenerate his blood supply before death took him.

* * *

The Escape

If you say so, Armell. Although it doesn't seem quite logically sound to me. I was liking the plan up to the point where the vampire sucked out all of Jace's blood and the strange device wasn't pumping in some kind of magical fluid at the same time. That I could have been completely thrilled about. But instead the process is to suck out all his poisoned blood, and then he, himself, has to be the one to cast the healing magics? That's both out of color for the pure blue planeswalker and just crazy talk.

Just some minor tweaks and it could have been an excellent solution to the puzzle. Instead the chapter is more a 6/10.

The Accomplice

Why is Liliana there in the first place? Ok, I can accept that she fooled Tezzeret. He was smart enough to doubt her, but he also believes in his truth serum and he has no idea she's been enchanted by Nicol Bolas to prevent such a thing from happening. But why is she allowed in this special fortress at all? Wouldn't he just send her back to Ravnica? Maybe try to recruit her to be an official planeswalker for the cell, maybe keep on on call like she's always been, or anything else but allow her to freely roam this base of his where she has absolutely no purpose.

This part of the plan actually makes less sense to me than a bloodless Jace not dying. Tezzeret is so careful about everything, there is no reason why he would want Liliana to remain in this particular fortress of his. But we're at the end now, so let's get to it.

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